What better start to the day than the Gaja winery Ca’ Marcanda ( house of endless negotiations !) Built in 1998 this impressive winery is 9500m2 with three levels underground perfectly blending in with the local landscape. They surveyed the land and chose this as the sandy colour of the land matched Ornellaia and Sassicaia. Gardens and olive groves on top of winery allow great views of the sea and Corsica on a clear day.Gaja’s other properties include the magnificent Pieve Santa Restituta in Montalcino.Production is 450000 bottles, first vintage 2000.All Gaja is organic, red worms from California form natural compost using selected manure from selected cows.
Three main wines produced-
Promis merlot Syrah blend small Sangiovese 25000 cases Magari half merlot 1/4 cs 1/4 cf8000 cases Camarcanda half merlot 40 cs 10 cf 2500 cases.
Vistamare 2016 sea view
Vermontino 60 viognier 40 Citruswhite. Flowers peach Others sea. Shells.Dried sage acidity balance excellent
Promis 2015 55 merlot 35 Syrah 10 Sangiovese Promis and Magari are sourced from vineyards lying in the terre brune, where the mineral content including lime and iron makes for wines with more pronounced tannic structure and character.
Black cherry chocolate vanilla nice tannic balance cedar
Magari 50 Merlot 25!cab sav 25 cf
Cranberry blue berry fruit forward great balance acidity tannins soft silky integrated beautifully pure Linear A baby opens up savoury herbs thyme opens up in glass over 10. Mins+++ then smokey toasty notes
Çamarcanda 2013 Merlot 50 CS 40 cf 10 ,the winery’s flagship wine, from vineyards in the terre bianche with their high composition of calcareous clay, ideal for wines intended for long-term aging.Wow the nose is amazing packs a punch. Concentration +++ black currant cassis blueberry red currant cherry. Toasty smokey so. Good keep smelling balance tannins integrated, Elegant silky tannins. Length amazing ++
Next stop back on the bikes towards Bolgheri. We got totally lost, then found the place which got it all started and birthplace of Sassicaia
Tenuta San Guido guided by Elena Brancini
The star on label is from family crest, aia means ‘place of something. Sassicaia means place of many stones, 3000 hectare estate 100 hectares of vineyard Higher area later harvest, sand near pines, lots different soils – clay sands stones altitude sea to 400 m lots of forest and even a place to breed racehorses. Interesting history the first vineyard planted in 1944 when the Piemontese Marquis Della Inchetta arrived. He was familiar with the excellent wines of Bordeaux and tried 1 ha Cabernet Sauvignon at top of the Hill. Now most plantings are lower altitude due to sea breeze and the sea acting as a mirror for light. Castillo on top of Hill medieval castle first cellar sassicaia. The first vintage was in 1968 and became the only Property in Italy with its own DOC. Iron rich area of red soils where the Etruscans first settled.
Wines tasted at Tenuta San Guido
Le Difese 2015 70cs 30 sangiovese 300000 bottles
Smokiness,Soft light red fruits savoury slight strawberry, Sangiovese
Sassicaia 2014 Perfume floral red fruits,Vanilla oaky notes mod tannins a bit lacking on the finish
Guidoalberto 2015 Merlot,Black currant leaf lovely acid balance and tannins
After a strenuous climb up the hill and many expletives later we arrived at Grattamacco 120m above sea level allowing magnificent views of the regionOwned now by Bertollerri it was the second winery in the area after sassicaia. Only 12 employees and organic since 1997 made easier with sea breeze and altitude and good drainage.No irrigation required although this June was very with no rain and it was very hot making for a difficult vintage.Justerini & Brook importer to the UK
Bolgheri Rosso 2016 CS based some new oak,Spicy ,violet hints cocoa dark cherries nutmegGood acidity and Med Fine tannins crunchy
Grattamacco 2014 Cedar minty eucalyptus,Higher level tannins cocoa vanilla oak toasty smoke sour cherry good length and structure cherry pie dried herbs
Grattamacc0 2011 Magnum
Cooked tertiary savoury basalmic salty rioja like vanilla spices cooked plums,Bit oxidized
Poggio massari poggio lombrone 100 Sangiovese 2013 herbal tea tobacco
We recommend a trip to this area. It is a little quiet and off the beaten track compared to inland nearer Siena and Florence, but this is Italy. In even the smallest places, there’s an immaculate town square, medieval church, and of course a brilliant local restaurant and wine flowing from the local wineries.